The Marshall Cross Country team on Wednesday had its first meet of the season. The women’s team paced third at the event, finishing with 75 points, while the Herd’s men’s team finished fourth with 94 points at the Virginia Tech Invitational at the Buford Meredith Cross Country Course in Blacksburg Virginia.
In the women’s race four km race, Abby Herring, MU junior and All Conference USA honors last season, finished sixth to lead Marshall’s women with a time of 14:26.20. Erykah Christopher placed 15th with a time of 15:12.10, while Julia Muller’s came in 17th at 15:21.40. Mackenzie Stanley finished 18th with a time of 15.24.20, followed by Kyleigh Edwards with a time of 15:28.00. Ciara Space finished 20th at 15:29.70, and Victoria Dotson finished 21st with a time of 15:39.20.
Branden Wood and Kent Bee led the men’s team, Wood finishing 15th with a time of 20:23.41, and Bee finishing 16th at 20:41.10. Jackson Snyder finished 18th with a time of 20:44.0 and Wyatt Hanshaw finished 22nd with a time of 21:24.50. Brett Armbruster finished 23rd at 21:25.00. Jordan Thomas finished 26th with a time of 21:44.60, and Paul Sepulveda finished 27th with a time of 21:54.70.
Marshall’s women’s cross-country team placed seventh in the preseason poll following UAB at No. 6, No. 5 UTEP, No. 4 Southern Miss, No. 3 Rice, No. 2, Charlotte and No. 1 Middle Tennessee. Charlotte received one first place vote and Middle Tennessee received 12 first place votes in the poll.
Ranked behind MU in the preseason poll are No. 8 Florida Atlantic, No. 9 North Texas and Np. 10 FIU. Tied for No. 11 are Western Kentucky and UTSA. Last in the rankings is No. 13, La Tech.
In the men’s preseason rankings, Marshall was ranked No. 6. Ahead of them in the ranking are No. 5 North Texas, No.4 UTEP, No.3 Rice, No. 2 Middle Tennessee, who received one first place vote, and No. 1 Charlotte, who received 10 first place votes. The teams ranking behind Marshall are No. 7 Western Kentucky, No.8 UTSA, No. 9 LA Tech, No.10 FIU and No.11 Florida Atlantic. The votes of the preseason poll are determined by coaches and members of the media
Nick Verzolini, former sports director of WMUL at Marshall, said despite solid ranking in polls, cross country is one of the non-major sports that at times does not get the attention that it deserves.Verzolini said it can be to follow some of the non-major sports at Marshall. “ It is rare to see those games on any sort of live stream, so the only way to really follow them is by reading media releases since they don’t really have home facilities,” Verzolini said. “The good thing though is that a lot of those coaches love to talk about their team since they don’t get as much coverage as they should, and you can really tell how passionate they are about their teams and how much they love their job.”
Hannah Chapman, a sophomore at MU, had similar comments. “I wish that there was more live coverage of the team, especially video. I loved cross country in high school and enjoy watching it when it is out there to watch any of it.”
Marshall’s next meet is Friday Sept. 17 at the University of Virginia Panorama Farms Invitational.